POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/6

Clinton Can’t Remember What She Was Watching

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she has “no idea” what she was watching with President Obama and his national security team when the photographer snapped the now famous picture of them in the Situation Room, ABC News reports.

Said Clinton: “Those were 38 of the most intense minutes. I have no idea what any of us were looking at that particular millisecond when the picture was taken.”

Paul’s Latest “Money Bomb” is a Success

The latest “money bomb” launched by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) ahead of tonight’s first Republican debate has netted more than $700,000 so far today.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Obama is a hardcore socialist and he’s marvelous at pretending to be something other than that, but that is what I believe he truly is, a hardcore socialist. He’s scary to me.”

— Billionaire David Koch, quoted by New York magazine.

No Red Meat for Daniels

Hendrick Hertzberg had lunch with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) and was reasonably impressed.

“Daniels is unobtrusively friendly. He doesn’t get defensive or suspicious. He is relaxed, and being around him is relaxing. He doesn’t throw off the crackles of craziness — or weirdness or megalomania or suppressed something (rage, fear, insecurity, resentment) — that, to a greater (Palin, Bachmann, Gingrich, Trump, Paul) or lesser (Huckabee, Romney) degree, you get from all the rest… To all appearances, his temperament is undoctrinaire even if some of his economic views aren’t. When it comes to red meat he seems to be a vegetarian.”

Indy 500 to Trump: You’re Fired!

A source affiliated with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway tells Jalopnik that Donald Trump “will not be the driver of the pace car for this month’s 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 after fans complained he was too politically motivated.”

The Indianapolis Star quotes Trump saying “time and business constraints make my appearance there, especially with the necessary practice sessions, impossible to fulfill.”

Another Poll Gives Obama Approval Bump

A new Gallup Poll finds Americans’ approval of President Obama is up six points after the death of Osama bin Laden.

Obama averaged a 46% approval rate in the three days leading up to the military operation and has averaged 52% across the three days since.

Satire Site Targets Congressional Candidate

Jane Corwin (R), running in the special election in New York’s 26th congressional district, has a nice website at janecorwin.com.

However, it’s very unfortunate she didn’t bother to register janecorwin.org as well.

Instead, it’s owned by Ian Murphy, the journalist/activist who tricked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year by posing as conservative financier David Koch during a phone call.

Releasing the Birth Certificate Helped

Washington Post/ABC News poll finds the number of Americans saying President Obama was born in another country has been sliced in half.

Overall, just 10% of Americans say Obama was likely born abroad, down from 20% in April 2010. Almost all those who now say Obama was born in a foreign country say that it’s only their “suspicion;” just 1% claim “solid evidence” that the president was born elsewhere (9% said so last year).

Key Committee Won’t Even Consider GOP Budget Plan

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said “he has no interest in bringing up House Republicans’ proposal to replace Medicare with subsidies for private insurance if it’s not going to pass the Senate,”The Hill reports.

Said Camp: “I’m not really interested in laying down more markers. I’d rather have the committee working with the Senate and with the president to focus on savings and reforms that can be signed into law.”

Pence Will Run for Indiana Governor

The Indianapolis Star reports that Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) confirmed his long-expected plans ro run for governor of Indiana in a conference call this morning with supporters, saying: “I’m in this race.”

Will Ney Return to Politics?

Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), who plead guilty to a federal charge of trading his influence for gifts, trips and gambling money, tells WTOV-TV that though he’s not making any plans to do so, he’s not ruling out a run for his old congressional seat.

Said Ney: “I’d be less than candid if I didn’t tell you I had a lot of citizens come up to me almost weekly saying, ‘We want you to run. Whatever you did. You’ve admitted it. You’re sorry for it.”

What’s Your Political Type?

An interesting quiz from Pew Research tells you.

South Carolina Republican Slams Those Skipping Debate

Karen Floyd, chair of the South Carolina Republican Party, is not pleased about the Republican presidential candidates who skipped last night’s first debate telling Fox News, “There is an arrogance that is abounding right now with some of these candidates.”

She added: “And the state of South Carolina is a perfect conduit to select someone that will go out and work hard, shake hands, meet the people and say look, this is what I stand for, this is what I’m about. Not about buying elections.”

Agree to Agree

National Journal notes an underplayed political story this week: “Senate Republicans and House Democrats both released comprehensive plans for job creation this week — and they manage to agree on more than a few things, which could add up to a tangible boost for the economy.”

“Among the shared provisions that could attract bipartisan and bicameral support on Capitol Hill: simplifying the tax code, closing loopholes, and reducing rates across the board; making permanent tax incentives for research and development; improving training programs for laid-off workers; and incentivizing deployment of natural gas, the fuel attracting the most support from both parties as an alternative to oil.”

Pawlenty’s Chance

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) goes into tonight’s Republican presidential primary debate as the “one candidate appearing who has a shot at winning the GOP nomination and…Pawlenty can command the spotlight and, he hopes, win attention and support,” The State reports.

The risks: “Likewise, he risks getting dragged into the weeds if forced to address some of the arch-conservative or libertarian beliefs of the lesser-known candidates at the debate.”

Alexander Burns notes that the debate is “a chance for Pawlenty to gain ground against the gun-shy 2012 contenders… For Pawlenty, there’s some urgency to that goal: For the first time since he started scoping out a White House bid, there’s an obvious, Pawlenty-shaped opening in the Republican field for him to claim.”

Fox News Gives Huckabee a Deadline

Republican operatives “familiar with the deliberations at Fox News” say that the network has told Mike Huckabee that he has until the end of the month to make up his mind about running for president “or he’ll be cut off, just as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were when the then-contributors were still in the consideration phase,” Real Clear Politics reports.

Ed Rollins, who ran Huckabee’s campaign four years ago, has previously said the former Arkansas governor has “roughly a June 1 deadline to decide.”

Quote of the Day

“Romney, he’s running almost a Rose Garden campaign, except he doesn’t have a Rose Garden.”

— Former Rep. Vin Weber (R-MN), quoted by Politico.

Allen Has a New Tracker

Former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) “has a new shadow,” the Richmond Times Dispatch reports.

Alan Piracha is working as a tracker for the Democratic Party, following Allen around the state and videotaping his appearances.

The fact that his surname is a common one in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh “is only noteworthy given the infamous ‘macaca’ moment of 2006, when Allen, on his way to losing his U.S. Senate seat to Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) singled out an Indian-American tracker working for Webb and twice called him ‘macaca,’ regarded by many as a racial slur.”

Why Bush Didn’t Go to Ground Zero

George W. Bush wasn’t at Ground Zero with President Obama today “in part because he feels his team is getting short shrift in the decade-long manhunt for Osama Bin Laden,” the New York Daily News reports.

Said a highly-placed source: “He viewed this as an Obama victory lap. He doesn’t feel personally snubbed and appreciates the invitation, but Obama’s claiming all the credit and a lot of other people deserve some of it.”

Associates familiar with his thinking say Bush does not believe Obama or his handlers wanted to exploit his presence. But the tag-team idea “was for the benefit of Obama, and Obama withheld credit from people Bush believes deserved it,” a source said.

Republicans Hold First Debate

“Normally, the first debate of the presidential primary season serves as a starting gun. The one that will take place on Thursday night could sound more like a distress call,” the Washington Post reports.

“With the strongest possible contenders holding back — not just from debating, but also from gearing up their campaign operations — a queasiness is setting in among Republicans about whether their field will be strong enough to produce a standard-bearer who can beat an incumbent.”

Congress Nears Deal on Debt Limit

The White House and Republican leaders “are discussing a deal that would enact strict deficit targets and some spending cuts to win Republican votes for lifting the ceiling on how much the federal government can borrow,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The deal would defer contentious decisions about Medicare, Medicaid and taxes until after the 2012 elections. If such an agreement were reached, it would allow both sides to assure financial markets and the public of their commitment to reducing the deficit and then use next year’s campaign to lay out their competing visions for the future of major government programs.”

Said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): “We’re not going to get a grand slam agreement. We’re not going to get a big, comprehensive agreement, because of the political parameters. My hope at this moment is to get a single or a double.”

Forecast Suggests GOP Senate Majority

Harry Enten forecasts Democrats “are in great danger of losing their Senate majority in 2012. History is against them maintaining control of the Senate.”

His model — which uses national variables and not seat-by-seat projections — finds Democrats will win only 16 of their 23 seats up for re-election next year. If correct, this loss of seven seats would flip the Senate to the Republicans.

Obama Approval Jumps to Two Year High

A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters approve 52% to 40% of the job President Obama is doing, his highest score in almost two years and up from a 46% to 48% approval among voters surveyed before he announced the death of Osama bin Laden.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Voters have upped their opinion of the president’s handling of national security matters. But they have not changed their minds about his stewardship of the economy. The number of people opposed to his reelection has dropped, although they seem to have moved to ‘undecided,’ rather than to the pro-Obama column. The good news for the president is that his largest improvement is among two key groups, men and independent voters.”

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